The objective of these missions is to meet with associations of families of the disappeared and NGOs fighting against enforced disappearances in countries affected by this practice and international organizations working for the respect of human rights. These missions also allow FEMED to request meetings with the country's authorities in order to establish a dialogue with them. 



On the first day of her arrival in Catalonia, the FEMED president was interviewed by the journalist Joan Roura, from TV3 - Televisio de Catalunya. She presented the FEMED, the CFDA, and spoke about the issue of the disappeared in Algeria, the Algerian context of the 90's and the current upheavals in Algeria (Bouteflika's 5th mandate, historical demonstrations). She held another interview with another newspaper, which ran an article on Sunday, April 7, 2019.

Two other meetings were held with two invited Syrian activists. The first with Fadwa Mahmoud, a Syrian refugee in Berlin, from Families for Freedom. Her son and her husband disappeared after being arrested at Damascus international airport while returning from a conference in China during which they had spoken about associations in Syria. The second meeting took place with Meriem Alhallak from the association Ceasar Families. Her son was arrested and died under torture, of a hemorrhage. She was threatened many times and her house was bombed. She found herself on the street and fled to Lebanon and then to Berlin.

During the second day of the mission, the president of FEMED went to the Parliament of Catalonia, in the presence of three deputies and two representatives of political parties. The President presented the FEMED and the CFDA and their activities. The debate focused on the issue of Syria and the problem of enforced disappearance. An appeal was made to the government to stop putting economic relations before everything else.

A reception was organized at the town hall of Celra, a town near Girona, in the presence of the mayor, the deputy mayor and journalists. During this meeting, the FEMED presented itself and opened a discussion about Algeria, considering that these political decision-makers were little informed about the context of the 90s and the dark years.

The Syrian women spoke about human rights violations in Syria, and what they themselves have suffered. Also discussed was a bus set up by Syrian associations based in London, which travels around the cities of Europe with photos of the disappeared and families of the disappeared demonstrating on board. The bus is hosted in many cities, where meetings with various institutions are organized.

The third day was marked by meetings and exchanges with local, regional and even international NGOs. Other interviews were made with press agencies active in Catalonia, which were followed by a public conference.


In April 2009, the FEMED conducted a mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Two members of the Executive Board, accompanied by the FEMED mission leader, met with various interlocutors. The logistics of the mission were facilitated by the informal partnership with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), established at the end of the Rabat Thematic Conference, to which this organization had been invited.

Thus, several civil society organizations were met: the Regional Coordinating Committee of Associations of Families of the Missing from the former Yugoslavia, the Citizens' Association "Women of Srebrenica", the Citizens' Association "Mothers of Srebrenica" (cf. photo on the left of the FEMED delegation with the members of the Association of citizens "Mothers of Srebrenica"), the Association of families of missing persons from the region of Sarajevo Romaninja, the Association of citizens "Women of Prodinje", the Union of Bosnian Associations of Families of captured and missing persons from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Prodinje Identification Project and the ICMP Identification Coordination Division were also visited and allowed the delegation to see to what extent Bosnian forensic expertise could be shared with other countries in the Federation. The delegation also visited the Potocari Memorial in Srebrenica and its cemetery. The members of the delegation were able to see that the Bosnian associations had a certain expertise on the theme of memory. This observation particularly appealed to the Federation, which would like to organize exchanges of experience between its member associations on this theme in the future.

During these meetings with the governmental authorities, the FEMED met with the Head of the Department for the Protection of Human Rights as well as with the President of the Institute on Missing Persons. The delegation of the Federation was thus able to relay the concerns of the Bosnian families. It was also able to appreciate the way in which the authorities perceived and dealt with the problem of enforced disappearances, particularly during its work to raise awareness of the urgent need for Bosnia-Herzegovina to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.



First mission

Members of the Executive Board, accompanied by the Project Manager, carried out this mission in order to acquire more in-depth knowledge about this country which has set up an original mechanism of transitional justice. Indeed, the establishment of a Committee for Missing Persons, where both sides of the island are represented, as well as a third party, recommended by the ICRC and appointed by the UN, deserved the full attention of the Federation. The FEMED was able to familiarize itself with the structure of this mechanism and to measure its impact on the associations of families of the disappeared. 

On the occasion of this mission, FEMED also met with the "ombudsman" of the Committee for Missing Persons, the body in charge of enforced disappearances on the island. The FEMED delegation also held several meetings with the two Cypriot associations working respectively on cases of missing persons from the southern and northern part of the island.

A conference on enforced disappearances in the Euro-Mediterranean region was also organized with the help of the Bicommunal Initiative for the Disappeared, a newly created association that brings together the two communities on the island. The FEMED delegation met with numerous interlocutors working for the eradication of enforced disappearances in Cyprus: the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the European Commission, Embassies, etc. Discussions were held with the NGO Truth Now, composed of lawyers and researchers interested in enforced disappearances and who are notably taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

Second mission

During this 2nd mission to Cyprus in November 2014, the FEMED delegation, composed of Wadih Al Asmar, FEMED Secretary General, Annie-France Berthod, FEMED Treasurer and Charlotte Galloux, Program Officer, met with numerous Turkish and Greek Cypriot associations. All working on the issue of enforced disappearances: Truth Now, Peace Research Institute Oslo PRIO Cyprus Centre, "Together We can" (Initiative of Bi-Communal Relatives of Missing Persons and Victims of War), as well as a journalist, Andreas Paraschos, who has worked on the issue of the missing.

On this occasion, the delegation was also able to meet with Mr. Photiou, Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues of the Republic of Cyprus and the three members of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP): Gülden Plümer Kücuk, Turkish Cypriot member of the CMP, Nestoras Nestoros, Greek Cypriot member of the CMP and Paul-Henri Arni, third member of the CMP (United Nations).  


In June 2009, on the occasion of its Board of Directors meeting in Algiers, the FEMED met with various associations of victims' families: the associations of victims of terrorism Djazaïrouna and Somoud as well as the relatives of the disappeared who make up its member association, Sos Disparus. The lawyers Amine Sidhoum and Adnane Bouchaib, who work on the defense of victims of disappearances by agents of the State and of terrorism, were also met by the FEMED delegation.

Finally, a meeting took place with the delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross so that the Federation could be presented to him and the members of the Board of Directors could become more familiar with the work of the international organization in Algeria. This meeting was also an opportunity to relay the demands of the Algerian families of the disappeared that the ICRC take charge of the file of enforced disappearances that occurred in the 1990s, which is not the case at present.



First mission

The FEMED went to Turkey for the first time in October 2009 in order to prepare the Third Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Families of the Disappeared. On this occasion, the Federation held meetings with local associations in Istanbul, which allowed for a follow-up of the December 2008 mission. 

From December 3 to 7, 2009, a delegation of the FEMED went to Turkey, to Istanbul and to the South East of the country, to Diyarbakir, in order to meet the mothers of the disappeared who, on the spot, fight daily for the Truth and Justice to be done on the fate of their relatives.

The FEMED Secretariat had organized different meetings between the members of the Executive Board and associations in Istanbul and Diyarbakir: Mothers for Peace, IHD, Mazlumder, Yakay-der, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and several Turkish human rights activists. All these associations underlined the numerous violations of human rights that plague this country but also their support for the organization of a conference on transitional justice.

Following this mission, the association Yakay-der transmitted to the FEMED about fifty individual files of disappeared persons so that they could be submitted to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Second mission

For several months, Turkish police forces have been carrying out targeted and mass arrests against Kurdish human rights activists in Turkey. Cemal Bektas, a member of FEMED's Board of Directors was arrested in Istanbul on October 11, 2011. His arrest is not isolated.

It is in reaction to these arrests that the FEMED decided to go to Turkey in order to organize several meetings giving priority to its member associations. The FEMED had a long meeting with Cemal Bektas' lawyer. 

The FEMED visited its member associations in order to renew its support and to strengthen the links with them. It also met with several newspapers and news agencies in order to better understand the current situation in Turkey. 

The trial of the human rights defenders started in July 2012. The FEMED sent a lawyer to represent it on the spot and to observe the trial in order to report violations of the rules of fair trial and the right to defense. However, the trial was postponed to October 2012.  The FEMED therefore sent a lawyer again to observe the trial. 

Third mission

FEMED visited Turkey a third time, in Istanbul in April 2014 (April 25-27) to meet with families of the disappeared, family associations, its member and partner associations and other human rights defenders in Turkey. During the three-day mission, FEMED was able to reaffirm its support to its member associations in Turkey, maintain links with its partner associations, meet new potential partners, etc. This mission also allowed to update the situation and the local specificities in Turkey concerning the fight against enforced disappearances and the defense of human rights in general.

The FEMED delegation also participated in a demonstration for truth and justice for all the disappeared in Turkey. Rachid El Manouzi, Vice President of the FEMED, recalled that this struggle was carried and supported by all the members of the Federation from different backgrounds but united "by a common struggle and will". He reaffirmed the importance of this solidarity between the families of the Euro-Mediterranean region which allows to keep hope in any circumstance.


From 17 to 20 April 2011, a delegation of the FEMED visited Cairo. This mission, planned for a long time, allowed the FEMED to realize the realities of enforced disappearances in Egypt. Indeed, in the 1980s, with the arrival in power of Hosni Mubarak and the establishment of the state of emergency, there were many cases of enforced disappearances. However, it was very difficult to identify the associations working on this issue in order to obtain concrete information on these cases of disappearances.

The delegation met with various Egyptian associations, defenders and human rights activists. The delegation was also received by the Director of the Human Rights Department at the Arab League and the First Secretary for Human Rights at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to bring their attention to the enforced disappearances that occurred before, during and after the revolution.

The ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by the Egyptian authorities was also discussed (Egypt has so far neither signed nor ratified the Convention).

During these three days the delegation was able to see the current political situation in Egypt and the serious human rights violations that took place during the revolution. In order to strengthen the links created with the associations met and to ensure that the issue of enforced disappearances is more present in the demands of Egyptian society, it is essential for the FEMED to continue its action in Egypt


The FEMED considered it essential to carry out for the first time a mission in this country in order to see the situation on the spot by meeting the associations and by establishing relations with them in order to set up in the future common actions. This mission was also an opportunity to meet with the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan to discuss the implementation of the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances.

Another objective of this mission was to establish contacts to organize a seminar in the Mashreq region on the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances. The mission was led by FEMED Board members Nassera Dutour, President, and Rachid El Manouzi, Secretary General, accompanied by the Program Officer, Lola Schulmann.

The delegation met with various associations: Al Ata'a for Human Rights, Kurdistan Anfal Victims Center, Human Rights Center, Association Democracy and Development Organisation, International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Al-Rahma Network, Kurdish Institute for victimology, fighting genocide as well as members of the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan. members of the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan.

During these few days, the delegation was able to see the situation of enforced disappearances in Iraq. Despite the progress made by the government with the ratification of the Convention, the passing of laws on enforced disappearances and the exhumation of mass graves, there is a growing gap between these political gestures and the reality on the ground.


The meeting with Ylber Morina, Project Manager for Justice and Civil Society and Amor Koshi, Forensic Coordinator at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was an opportunity for FEMED to learn more about the current situation in Kosovo regarding enforced disappearances. During the conflict that ravaged Kosovo in 1999, approximately 4400 people disappeared. At present, more than 2000 of them are still missing.

A meeting was organized with Prenkë Gjetaj, President of the Governmental Commission for Missing Persons of Kosovo, which focused on the issue of enforced disappearances which is still relevant in Kosovo today and the problems of identification of bodies which complicate the situation even more. 

Other meetings were organized with local authorities and members of the civil society of certain localities. This was the case with a meeting with families of the disappeared, the deputy mayor of the town of Suhareka and with the association "Shpresimi", a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Federation against Enforced Disappearances.


A few months after the fall of the Ben Ali regime, a FEMED field team went to Tunis in 2013 to map the situation of enforced disappearances in the country. While it is difficult to obtain reliable statistics on enforced disappearances in Tunisia, the mission confirmed, based on available sources, the absence of the phenomenon and systematic practice of enforced disappearance in Tunisia, despite the existence of some individual cases.  Several people met during the mission shared the fact that a large part of the public and private archives (particularly those of customs, hospitals and some courts) were destroyed shortly after January 14, 2011.


The objective of this mission, which took place in 2013, was to establish initial contact with national institutions, international and local organizations, including associations representing families of the disappeared, to understand the nature of their activities, the constraints that these associations face, and the challenges for both these organizations and the families of the disappeared. The number of associations working on the issue of enforced disappearances, transitional justice and reconciliation is estimated to be more than 30 in the country. It was not possible during this mission to meet directly with families of the disappeared, but contacts were established with several local associations. The delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Tripoli also undertook to facilitate contacts with the families of the missing.

Meetings with the authorities (Minister of Justice, despite a request for an audience, Minister of Martyrs and Missing Persons) were difficult to obtain due to the short duration of the mission and the current political situation, where some prominent politicians are subject to threats or even murder attempts, such as Mohammed Al-Megeryef, President of the Assembly, who escaped an assassination attempt on March 5 in Tripoli


A delegation of FEMED visited Belgrade, Serbia from 21 to 23 July 2014. The FEMED delegation met with different Serbian human rights associations, but also with different members of the Commission on Missing Persons of Serbia, members of the International Committee of the Red Cross etc. The mission was essentially an information gathering mission on the challenges and obstacles that associations dealing with the issue of enforced disappearances have to overcome.  

This field mission allowed the FEMED to study and take note of all the issues related to enforced disappearances in the Balkans and more specifically in Serbia. Several commissions in charge of the search for persons missing during the war have been established in Serbia. The cooperation between FEMED and some local Serbian NGOs such as the Association of Families of Kidnapped and missing persons have made it possible to understand that despite Serbia's commitments and its will to shed light on the fate of the missing during the war, serious institutional obstacles prevent the resolution of the issue of the missing


On July 6, 2019, FEMED met with families of the disappeared at the AMDH headquarters. 7 women whose husbands were detained in Tazmamart gave their testimonies. FEMED reported that during the meeting with the CNDH, the president had promised to discuss with the representatives of Tazmamart to find a solution about the families who did not receive compensation, as well as about the way to compensate the victims who are now retired. The FEMED recalled the importance of joint actions in order to achieve concrete results. The meeting was followed by a sit-in in front of the Moroccan Parliament. 

Finally, the FEMED delegation met the Minister of Justice. The Minister congratulated the work of the IER and the CNDH and assured the political will to solve the cases of enforced disappearances. He considered that the CNDH was the best structure to continue the work of the IER, and that many of the points of the Convention against Enforced Disappearances had been taken up in the legislation. The Minister then reaffirmed his support for the associations, recalling that he would listen to their recommendations


This exploratory mission to Jordan was held from June 1 to 2, 2015. FEMED took the opportunity to meet with several actors on the ground in order to take stock of the cases of enforced disappearances among Syrian refugee families.

First of all, FEMED met with the Danish Institute against torture represented by Elna Sondergaard. She drew our attention to the fact that Jordan has accepted the principle of ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Her case will be examined in November 2015 by the Committee against Torture. 
In addition, FEMED also spoke with Sarah Avrillaud of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. This organization indicated that they have access to detention centers and are trying to document cases of disappearances and to restore family links. They also want to improve the conditions of detention. They will try to put FEMED in contact with family groups if they are asked. 
Finally, FEMED met with Lubana Dawany, Executive Director of GISI in Jordan. The GISI representatives advised FEMED of the need to use the presence of Prince Zeid as High Commissioner to push the Jordanian government to ratify international conventions and in particular the CED. Moreover, the association is in contact with Syrian refugees and notices more and more the suffering caused by the disappearance of one of their relatives and their needs for psychological support.

However, Vladimir JANECEK - Political Officer of the European Union delegation drew FEMED's attention to the fact that the delegation does not work specifically on enforced disappearances because Jordan is not directly concerned and for the moment no work has been done with Syrian refugees in Jordan on this subject.